Kristin Van Busum

Kristin Van Busum

Kristin Van Busum's picture
Name: Kristin Van Busum
Organization: Project Alianza
Website:
Title: Founder
Bio:
As a changemaker, I believe real change happens when we focus on community-led transformation, not charity. That's why I founded Project Alianza. Project Alianza supports coffee farming families in low-income countries by providing a pathway out of poverty through field-based agricultural education, access to lucrative markets, and educational opportunities for children who are at risk of child labor. My journey begins in 2012 when I travelled to Nicaragua to learn about organic coffee farming. While there, I encountered farmer after farmer who shared stories of exclusion from fair markets and dreams of sending their children to school. Touched by their strength and spirit, I returned to Nicaragua over the next two years to work alongside farmers and capture their stories, to meet with academics and industry leaders, and to explore solutions. In 2014 I was well-positioned to start Project Alianza and make an impact on the lives of coffee farmers in a way that they themselves can feel—through higher incomes and better schooling for their children. Project Alianza builds innovative community-based alliances between farming families, private farming enterprises (mid-sized and larger farms), and ethical coffee buyers. For the farming families we work with, this means: - Access to mobile training in sustainable practices, quality and diversification and business; - Low-to-no interest resource loans in form of seed, fertilizer, or technology; - Educational opportunities for children in coffee communities, including nutrition and health programs. Prior to leading Project Alianza, I worked in Boston, Massachusetts as Manager of Health Advisory Services at RAND Corporation, a large global policy think tank that provides objective research to policymakers. I was named a Fulbright Scholar in 2014 and hold a Master's in Public Policy and Administration from New York University.

Challenge Entries

Project Alianza builds a sustainable, community-based alliance to radically improve the quality of life of marginalized coffee farming families by providing field-based agricultural education, necessary tools and resources to access lucrative markets, and educational opportunities for children.